How the NFL on CBS game analyst gets ready for game day (Hint: A Peloton, podcasts, and a pack of really cute pups are involved.)
By David Hochman
Football isn’t merely a job for Charles Davis. It’s who he is, what gets him up, how he eats. The game analyst for the NFL on CBS, who teams with play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle, is a University of Tennessee Hall of Famer, having distinguished himself there as a defensive back while earning a master’s degree in history. Today Davis lives in Orlando with his wife, Lisa, and a happy pack of golden retrievers. Come game day, however, somebody else is going to have to walk those pups.
Bright and Early
Charles Davis was part of the pandemic Peloton craze.
Photo courtesy of Peloton
6:00 A.M. During football season, the alarm goes off at 6, 5, or even 4 a.m. and the studying begins. For me, every week is like midterms or finals. I’m reading about NFL history, rule changes, stats, coaches, and, of course, the players. One thing I learned in my years covering college football is that every person on the field is someone’s family member. For the sake of their mom or cousin or daughter, you’d better pronounce that name correctly!
7:30 A.M. We were part of the pandemic Peloton craze, and I admit I fell off track a bit. But I’m back on it. It’s no longer just a clothes hanger. The vanity of being on TV is the world’s greatest motivator.
8:00 A.M. I’ve had trainers scream at me for years about it, but I don’t eat breakfast. I’ll usually just grab some kind of protein bar to get me through.
Ready For Kickoff
"I'm a very happy man,” says Davis of his family life.
Photo courtesy of Charles Davis
10:00 A.M. I like getting to the stadium around three hours before kickoff. To clear my head, I’ll listen to podcasts unrelated to sports. My daughter, Taylor, 28, and son, Parker, 24, tell me what I’ll love. Lately it’s SmartLess with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, and Life is Short with Justin Long.
10:45 A.M. The new high-tech arenas are tremendous, but nothing tops walking into Cowboys [AT&T] Stadium in Dallas. The story goes that Jerry Jones’ wife, Eugenia, wanted to use a certain type of Italian marble from a certain company but there was a waiting list. So Jerry bought the company. Even if that’s not true, the marble floors really are incredible.
11:30 A.M. We’ll do live TV hits for our pregame shows. First comes That Other Pregame Show, or TOPS for short, on CBS Sports Network. That rolls into the NFL Today on CBS.
“There’s no one better,” says Davis of broadcast partner Ian Eagle.
Photo credit: CBS Sports
1:00 P.M. Game time—and I still get nervous. When I hear “30 seconds to air,” I want to be anywhere else. That was true as a player, too. I’d be in the locker room thinking, “Oh, God, if I screw this up today on national television, I’m done!” But by the time the count gets to 10, my preparation and confidence kick in, and I’m 100 percent “Let’s do this!”
1:45 P.M. Calling games for the NFL, it’s for real. Things change on the fly. You think a team will come in running and they’ll end up throwing the ball 15 times. Or you’ll see trick plays. Or mistakes. Prepare for anything and then watch it all change.
2:35 P.M. Lunch, a lot of times, is that good ol’ stadium sirloin as we like to call it. You grab a hot dog!
“Playoff history!” says Davis of last year’s AFC Wild Card game of New England vs. Buffalo.
Photo credit: Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images
3:45 P.M. Every game is vitally important, but one that truly stands out: watching Buffalo score nearly every time they had the ball against New England in last season’s Wild Card game. Seven touchdown drives! Playoff history! So thrilled I was there.
5:30 P.M. Game’s over. Driver’s waiting. Time to head home. They put together a book for me of articles, stories, and stats to get me ready for the next game we have coming up. I’ll read that on the plane and the studying starts all over again.
7:30 P.M. My wife, Lisa, is the most incredible person. What can I say? University of Tennessee graduate. Law degree. Advocate for pet rescues. A great beauty. The whole thing. When I get home to her and the four goldens that live with us, let’s just say I’m a very happy man.
"To clear my head, I’ll listen to podcasts unrelated to sports. Lately it’s SmartLess with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, and Life is Short with Justin Long."
Photo credit: art19.com
8:30 P.M. The kids don’t live with us anymore, so we’ll usually go out for dinner on days when I get home in time. I’ll typically go for steak and maybe bananas fosters. How could you not? They set that bad boy on fire!
10:00 P.M. I’m a huge fanboy of Yellowstone. My colleague Evan Washburn, who is our sideline reporter—we’re both fanatics. I’m telling you, if we could ever get up to Montana and watch them shoot, trust me, I’d be on the first plane.
11:00 P.M. Football is my reality, but my escape is mysteries. Harlan Coben is my favorite author. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him. I’ve met Lisa Scottoline, too, who’s also brilliant. So is Brad Thor. I guess even I need a break from talking about pass attempts and 2-point conversions.